Corey Davis drove right down the middle of the lane for a lay-in with three seconds remaining to give host and No. 8 McDonogh a thrilling, 63-62 victory over No. 9 St. Frances last night.
St. Frances had taken the lead at 62-61 on a layup with 10 seconds left by Derrick Brookes, who had a game-high 20 points. Brookes was unable to complete a three-point play, and Davis, who was not intended to get the ball from Justin Drummond on the inbounds, did and drove in for the game-winner.
"Brookes was guarding me and he stumbled and I went right past him," said Davis, a junior guard who led the Eagles with 17 points. "Nobody came to me, and I had it all the way."
McDonogh (20-2) remained in sole possession of first place in the combined Baltimore Catholic League/Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference at 10-1.
St. Frances (14-5) fell to 6-4 in the league with its second straight loss to the Eagles.
Last night, the visiting Panthers got a three-pointer from Brookes and a subsequent basket by Gordon "Gus" Chase, who had 14 points, off a McDonogh turnover to cut their deficit to 61-60 with 36 seconds left.
Brookes grabbed the rebound after a couple of missed McDonogh shots under the basket and went the length of the floor for a layup that gave St. Frances a 62-61 lead with 10 seconds left.
Fouled on the play, Brookes missed the free throw, and Jon Brick (11 points) cradled the rebound for McDonogh and called timeout.
"We wanted to get the ball to Jon [Brick] and set something up for [Mike] Popoko, but Corey broke open," said McDonogh coach Matt MacMullan.
Said Davis, who had 12 points in the second half, while Popoko, the team's leading scorer, was held to eight: "To be honest, I didn't expect to get the ball, but Jon didn't get open and I was the man."
McDonogh took a couple of 10-point leads before the Panthers closed the first half with a 28-25 lead by outscoring the Eagles 19-10 in the second period.
The third period was back and forth, with a jumper by Davis sending the game into the final eight minutes tied at 42.
"We're getting better and better each time out and played our hearts out," said St. Frances coach William Wells.